Saturday, 24 January 2015

Please, don’t feel at home!

Post for my dear Indian friends studying abroad!
However, this theory is also applicable and beneficial for students from any other country who is studying abroad.

With growing inclination towards studying in Germany these days, the number of Indian students in Germany has increased in short period. After arriving in Germany, students often try to find friends who belong to the same country as theirs, and then same state, better still from the same city! Many students arriving here consider themselves fortunate to meet Indians, especially belonging to the same caste and culture as theirs.

It is not difficult to find Indians here today, as it was just few years back. Hence, one often begins the journey of studying in Germany, by dwelling in the comfortable company of other Indians around. I myself have been fortunate enough to find many Indians; at university, hostel, work place, and practically everywhere, I walk these days!

However, I wish to bring to light, the importance of being out of our comfort zones occasionally. Here, in Aachen (North-west city in Germany), it is very much possible to make many Indian friends, and cook daily with them, have dinner parties with them, study with them in library, attend lectures with them, and have them as your neighbors. One can roll and swim so deep in this comfort zone that, sometimes one might wonder if he or she is in Germany or India. As good and pleasant this is, it is also important to occasionally step out of our comfort zones and try to explore and utilize the opportunity of meeting people from different lands and cultures.

It is not difficult to arrange dinner party where all your guests come from different countries! They are equally eager and polite. Attending international get-to-gathers and parties occasionally, even just to watch people hailing from different nationalities is a good practice (and talking to them will be a bonus ;) ) I took several opportunities to meet people from different lands. The difference of routines and customs that I find, often amaze me. The trail of thoughts and cultural values exchanged are one of the memorable times of my stay in Germany. I am fortunate to live in a hostel, where my neighbors come from Spain, Ukraine, Germany, Russia, India, etc. I also occasionally attend the international evening gatherings in the city. Living in a student city offers one, a chance to meet people not just from Germany but also from other countries around the world.

Please do not misunderstand or misinterpret my message here. I do not deny the emotional, motivational, cultural and all other unique bonds that we share with people coming from same background as ours. It definitely helps us to sail smoothly in foreign waters. Nevertheless, we must still not forget that one of the main reasons we choose to study abroad, is to get an international exposure. If we start comfortably dwelling in our Indian troops without making an effort of occasionally looking beyond, does not serve the purpose!

Just a note, from an Indian studying abroad :)

P.S. - Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on this topic as a comment to this post.

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